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One of the biggest anime hits of the 90s is “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” It has evolved into a cultural icon, spawning thousands of related merchandise from action-figures and video games to even mundane objects like towels and pillow cases.
In 2007, the first of the “Rebuild of Evangelion” films was released in Japan. As a reboot of the original series, it was meant to bring Evangelion to a new generation of fans while giving the older ones something fresh yet familiar to chew on.
The new movies had several departures from the classic story and also featured the introduction of a new Eva pilot: Mari Illustrious Makinami. In the third film, we saw her piloting the new pink Eva unit, Eva-08.
Revoltech Yamaguchi has crafted several Eva figures from “Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo.” This review focuses on Mari’s upgraded Eva-08 unit, whose full designation is Evangelion Production Model Custom Type-08 Beta. What a mouthful!
Sculpt: Not your regular mecha
One of the draws of Evangelion is the unique design of its mechas. Unlike other Japanese giant robots, Eva units are not blocky but consist of a combination of smoothly-flowing and sharply angular parts, giving them a more “organic” look.
Technically, the Evangelion units aren’t true mecha, being composites of advanced cybernetics and living tissue. Revoltech Yamaguchi has done a wonderful job translating these biological weapons into plastic, and Eva-08 Beta is a testament to their superior sculpting ability.
Eva-08 Beta is an extremely faithful rendition of her onscreen counterpart. She basically looks like a tall, gangly humanoid with an extra-long torso and ropey limbs, and covered in form-hugging plates of armor. There are numerous tiny details on the armor, and a majority of these have been sculpted with almost surgical precision.
At first, I thought the miniscule, pink dots on the thumbs were a result of paint slop. But upon closer inspection I realized they were part of the creature’s design. With that said, the sculpting isn’t entirely flawless; there are disfigured knots of plastic here and there. Thankfully these are rare and are hardly noticeable due to their small size.
The sculpting that went into the head is first-rate. I have to admit that this is the most unconventional of the Eva head designs. Eva-08 Beta has eight eyes, and these are situated on a blob of purple metal that in my morbid mind resembles a parasitic tumor.
In the animated film, these eyes light up a bright green – which looks pretty cool. Sadly, on the figure, the eyes are dark and dull. They are made of a translucent material, however, which does appear green if angled correctly under a light source.
When it comes down to it, the design of Eva-08 Beta’s “face” isn’t as fearsome as Unit-01’s or Unit-02’s, and isn’t as coldly menacing as the one-eyed Unit-00. It’s just weird, but not necessarily in a bad way. How cool it is will ultimately depend on the fan’s personal preferences.
Eva-08 Beta was sculpted in such a way that most of her joints are hidden, making her an excellent display figure. The two most noticeable joints are her shoulders joints – spherical, pegged things that attach the arms to the torso. Fortunately, they really don’t look so bad, and don’t even look too out of place with the unit’s overall design. Also, with clever positioning of the shoulder pylons, they can be partially obstructed from view.
Eva-08 Beta stands roughly 5.5 inches tall – six, if you include the pylons on her shoulders.
Paint job: Pretty cool in pink
I never thought the day would come when they’d create a pink Eva unit. It's a happy color, not one you’d expect splashed on a 130-foot tall killing machine.
Despite this, the color scheme is surprisingly effective, as stylish as it is striking. I, for one, love it. Aside from pink, there are also small bands of orange, white, and black on the arms, chest, hip area, knees, and feet. The stomach portion is almost purely white, with some nice, bright green notches. The “spine” is dark silver.
I especially like the work done on the pentagonal symbols on the shoulders; the application of red, black and green are extremely precise. Like the sculpt, however, there are some minor imperfections. On the upper back of my figure, there are a few tiny black dots that I’m sure weren’t intended to be there. Also, some of the black paint that should be inside two etched, triangular lines had bled out onto the surrounding pink. Because Eva-08 Beta’s body has such large expanses of light color, it is a little harder to hide the darker blemishes, which are noticeable upon close inspection.
The paint used for over 90% of Eva-08 Beta is smooth and glossy, and it looks wonderful. I would have preferred a metallic finish, but it’s still a far cry from those cheap, plastic, mass market toys.
Articulation: It’s Revoltech, enough said.
Articulation is where Revoltech excels, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Eva-08 Beta can cross her arms and scratch her upper back. Her legs can bend so that the feet almost touch the butt. She can curl up into a fetal position, do side crunches, and perform the YMCA dance. Heck, she could probably play Twister if she it had to.
Eva-08 Beta can’t bend over backwards, however, and for her to spread her legs in a side split, you’ll need some tricky maneuvering of the hip joints. Fortunately, her various body parts are detachable, making it easier to manipulate those joints to have them point in the desired directions.
Accessories: Comes with toys
Aside from the usual Revoltech base, support structures, and a box in which you can store the tinier accessories, Eva-08 Beta also comes with several extra hands in different poses, a hand pistol, a long rifle, an A.T. field, and a sentry.
I’m a big fan of smaller guns, and Eva-08 Beta’s pistol is a beauty in both sculpt and paint. Did I mention it fits perfectly in the gun hand? The rifle is just as gorgeous and surprisingly light enough that she can wield it in certain poses without toppling over, base or no base.
The A.T. field can be used as an alternate stand, or can be posed in mid-air using the support beams. The sentry can also be attached to the A.T. field, so you can recreate those battle scenes from the film.
Beauty in her strangeness
The Eva unit designs are unorthodox, more freakish and sinister than heroic and majestic. If you’re not a fan of the series or the mecha designs, you might want to move on.
Still, it cannot be denied that the Eva units exude a singular style; a disquieting, almost fetishistic allure that is hard to find elsewhere in the pantheon of Japanese mecha. And the Eva-08 Beta is an embodiment of this distinct, compelling weirdness that makes it such a treat to behold.
She may not be the most iconic of the Eva units, but Evangelion Production Model Custom Type-08 Beta is still a great action figure, with outstanding articulation and enjoyable accessories. If you’re an Evangelion fan, she is a must-have. — KDM GMA News